Monday, December 31, 2007

New URL for GottaGettaBLOG!

Please note that GottaGettaBLOG! posts from the years 2003 through 2007 will be permanently archived, here, at www.ggci.com/blog, under the heading of "GottaGettaBlog! 2003-2007". But, starting January 2008, blog posts will be posted at: www.ggci.com/blog2.

Furthermore, starting January 2010, new posts will be at:
http://www.ggci-blog.com/.

Please update your bookmarks and automated feeds accordingly.

Thanks!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wynton Marsalis: Leadership Lessons

  1. THINK BIG, BUT DON'T BE IMPATIENT. Deferring the rewards of long-term success is difficult but necessary if you are going to have the mental fortitude to achieve them.
  2. BE PERFECT IN INTENTION; YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT IN EXECUTION. Mistakes, by you and your staff, will happen.
  3. YOU CAN ONLY 00 THE BEST THAT YOU CAN DO. Keep your goals high, but don't set yourself up for failure. Be patient.
  4. DON'T APOLOGIZE FOR A MISTAKE. APOLOGIZE IF YOU DON'T PLAY. Knowing that effort is what matters gives people the courage to always try their hardest.
  5. STAY INSIDE YOURSELF; WHEN YOU DO, YOU'LL TAKE A RISK-BUT YOU'LL MAKE AN INTELLIGENT DECISION. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
  6. BELIEF IN OTHER PEOPLE'S CREATIVITY ALLOWS PEOPLE AROUND YOU TO BE THEMSELVES AND ACHIEVE THEIR INDIVIDUALITY. If your staff members have the freedom to achieve as individuals, the returns will be manifold.
  7. APPROACH YOUR TASK VERY SERIOUSLY-BUT WITH HUMOR. Discipline should never come at the expense of closing one's self to new ideas, and vice versa.
  8. SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS, AND MANY TIMES THEY ARE UGLY. It's best to be very direct.
  9. IT ISN'T MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. Learn to compromise and be flexible.
  10. WHEN YOU'RE A LEADER, SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW, TOO. Good leaders know they don't have a monopoly on brilliant ideas. Be objective and willing to follow Insights you may have missed.
  11. HUMILITY INSPIRES PEOPLE; ORGANIZATION INSPIRES A STAFF. Always try to give your staff clear plans and goals, but allow them room for self-empowerment.
  12. RESPECT THE FREEDOM OF OTHER PEOPLE AND THEIR CREATIVITY. JAZZ MUSIC TEACHES THAT ABOVE ALL ELSE. Giving your staff the freedom to improvise opens the floodgates on innovation.
  13. YOU CAN'T LOOK AT ANY PERSON AND TELL WHETHER THEY CAN PLAY. ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE CAN PLAY. Some of the best talent can be found in the most unexpected places.
  14. THERE IS A LIMIT TO WHAT YOU CAN DEMAND FROM SOMEBODY ELSE. Nothing erodes the spirit like a boss who can never be pleased.
  15. BE FUNDAMENTALLY TRUTHFUL. Without truth, your success will unravel.
---
from Success Magazine, July 2007

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Definitive 200 - Rock n Roll's Best

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in conjunction with the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) have released the Definitive 200, that is what they consider the top "200 ranked albums of that every music lover should own."

Don't let it bother you that NARM, the self-proclaimed "voice of music retailing", has everything to gain by us buying more music. Vested interests aside, the list is really too good to pass up:

  1. BEATLES SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND - 1967 *
  2. PINK FLOYD DARK SIDE OF THE MOON - 1973 *
  3. MICHAEL JACKSON THRILLER - 1982 *
  4. LED ZEPPELIN LED ZEPPELIN IV - 1971 *
  5. U2JOSHUA TREE - 1987 *
  6. ROLLING STONES EXILE ON MAIN STREET - 1972
  7. CAROLE KING TAPESTRY - 1971 *
  8. BOB DYLAN HIGHWAY '61 REVISITED - 1965 *x
  9. BEACH BOYS PET SOUNDS - 1966
  10. NIRVANA NEVERMIND - 1991 *
  11. PEARL JAM TEN - 1991
  12. BEATLES ABBEY ROAD - 1969 *@
  13. SANTANA SUPERNATURAL - 1999 *
  14. METALLICA METALLICA - 1991
  15. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN BORN TO RUN - 1975 *
  16. PRINCE PURPLE RAIN - 1984 *
  17. AC/DC BACK IN BLACK - 1980
  18. ROLLING STONES LET IT BLEED - 1969
  19. DOORS DOORS - 1967 *
  20. GRATEFUL DEAD AMERICAN BEAUTY - 1970 *#
  21. SHANIA TWAIN COME ON OVER - 1997
  22. WHO WHO'S NEXT - 1971 *
  23. STEVIE WONDER SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE - 1976 *
  24. FLEETWOOD MAC RUMOURS - 1977 *
  25. PINK FLOYD WALL - 1979 *
  26. ALANIS MORISSETTE JAGGED LITTLE PILL - 1995 *
  27. NORAH JONES COME AWAY WITH ME - 2002
  28. EMINEM MARSHALL MATHERS LP - 2000 *
  29. OUTKAST SPEAKERBOXX-LOVE BELOW - 2003
  30. DR. DRE CHRONIC - 1992
  31. BEASTIE BOYS LICENSED TO ILL - 1986
  32. GUNS 'N ROSES APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION - 1987
  33. DIXIE CHICKS WIDE OPEN SPACES - 1998
  34. MILES DAVIS KIND OF BLUE - 1959 *x
  35. EAGLES HOTEL CALIFORNIA - 1976 *
  36. DEF LEPPARD HYSTERIA - 1987
  37. SOUNDTRACK GREASE - 1980 *
  38. MARVIN GAYE WHAT'S GOING ON - 1978 *
  39. BEATLES WHITE ALBUM - 1968 *
  40. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER - 1977
  41. JIMI HENDRIX ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? - 1967 *
  42. BEATLES REVOLVER - 1966 *
  43. BOSTON BOSTON - 1976 *#
  44. BON JOVI SLIPPERY WHEN WET - 1986
  45. U2 ACHTUNG BABY - 1991
  46. WHITNEY HOUSTON WHITNEY HOUSTON - 1985
  47. LED ZEPPELIN LED ZEPPELIN II - 1969 *
  48. DAVE MATTHEWS BAND CRASH - 1996 *x
  49. ROLLING STONES STICKY FINGERS - 1971
  50. GREEN DAY DOOKIE - 1994 *
  51. LED ZEPPELIN HOUSES OF THE HOLY - 1973
  52. JONI MITCHELL BLUE - 1971*
  53. ELVIS PRESLEY ELVIS AT SUN - 2004
  54. AEROSMITH TOYS IN THE ATTIC - 1975 *
  55. LAURYN HILL MISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL - 1998
  56. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN BORN IN THE U.S.A. - 1984 *
  57. 50 CENT GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN' - 2003
  58. AC/DC HIGHWAY TO HELL - 1979
  59. NOTORIOUS B.I.G. LIFE AFTER DEATH - 1997
  60. VAN HALEN VAN HALEN - 1978
  61. GREEN DAY AMERICAN IDIOT - 2004 *
  62. BLACK SABBATH PARANOID - 1971
  63. EMINEM EMINEM SHOW - 2000
  64. JEWEL PIECES OF YOU - 1995
  65. COLDPLAY RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD - 2002 *x
  66. MEATLOAF BAT OUT OF HELL - 1977
  67. USHER CONFESSIONS - 2004
  68. KID ROCK DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE - 1998
  69. GEORGE HARRISON ALL THINGS MUST PASS - 1970 *
  70. BILLY JOEL STRANGER - 1977 *
  71. EAGLES HELL FREEZES OVER - 1994
  72. VAN MORRISON MOONDANCE - 1970 *
  73. REM AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE - 1992 *x
  74. PHIL COLLINS NO JACKET REQUIRED - 1985
  75. METALLICA MASTER OF PUPPETS - 1986
  76. FAITH HILL BREATHE - 1999
  77. JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON - 1968 *
  78. JOHN COLTRANE LOVE SUPREME - 1964
  79. PINK FLOYD WISH YOU WERE HERE - 1975 *x
  80. MICHAEL JACKSON OFF THE WALL - 1979
  81. MARVIN GAYE LET'S GET IT ON - 1973
  82. BOB SEGER NIGHT MOVES - 1976 *
  83. PAUL SIMON GRACELAND - 1986 *
  84. LINKIN PARK HYBRID THEORY - 2000
  85. PRINCE 1999 - 1983
  86. DEF LEPPARD PYROMANIA - 1983
  87. JANET JACKSON CONTROL - 1986
  88. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS BLOOD SUGAR SEX MAGIK - 1991
  89. DIRE STRAITS BROTHERS IN ARMS - 1985 *
  90. TUPAC ALL EYEZ ON ME - 1996
  91. MATCHBOX TWENTY YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU - 1996 *#
  92. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS CALIFORNICATION - 1999
  93. LED ZEPPELIN PHYSICAL GRAFFITI - 1975
  94. NELLY COUNTRY GRAMMAR - 2000
  95. CREED HUMAN CLAY - 1999
  96. CLASH LONDON CALLING - 1979
  97. CELINE DION FALLING INTO YOU - 1996
  98. NEIL YOUNG HARVEST - 1972 *
  99. SOUNDTRACK DIRTY DANCING - 1987
  100. DIXIE CHICKS HOME - 2002
  101. TOM PETTY FULL MOON FEVER - 1989 *
  102. VAN HALEN 1984 - 1984
  103. SOUNDTRACK TITANIC - 1997
  104. CROSBY STILLS & NASH DEJA VU - 1970 *
  105. TLC CRAZYSEXYCOOL - 1999
  106. BECK ODELAY - 1994 *x
  107. KENNY G BREATHLESS - 1992
  108. NWA. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON - 1989
  109. SEX PISTOLS NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS - 1977 *
  110. BEATLES RUBBER SOUL - 1965 *
  111. RADIOHEAD O.K. COMPUTER - 1997 *x
  112. SIMON & GARFUNKEL BRIDGE OVER TROUBLE WATER - 1970 *
  113. DIXIE CHICKS FLY - 1999
  114. METALLICA AND JUSTICE FOR ALL - 1988
  115. MICHAEL JACKSON DANGEROUS - 1991
  116. MARIAH CAREY DAYDREAM - 1995
  117. SOUNDTRACK TOP GUN - 1999
  118. ELTON JOHN GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD - 1973 *
  119. POLICE SYNCHRONICITY - 1983 *#
  120. NO DOUBT TRAGIC KINGDOM - 1995
  121. ROLLING STONES BEGGAR'S BANQUET - 1968
  122. R KELLY R - 1998
  123. TOOL LATERALUS - 2001
  124. OASIS WHAT'S THE STORY MORNING GLORY - 1995 *
  125. BOB MARLEY EXODUS - 1977 *
  126. JOURNEY ESCAPE - 1981 *
  127. CHRISTINA AGUILERA CHRISTINA AGUILERA - 1999
  128. JAY-Z BLUEPRINT - 2001
  129. ALICIA KEYS DIARY OF ALICIA KEYS - 2003
  130. SOUNDTRACK O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU? - 2000
  131. CARS CARS - 1978 *
  132. ENYA DAY WITHOUT RAIN - 2000
  133. NATALIE COLE UNFORGETTABLE WITH LOVE NATALIE COLE - 1991
  134. SOUNDTRACK FOOTLOOSE - 1984
  135. LIONEL RICHIE CAN'T SLOW DOWN - 1983
  136. SARAH MCLACHLAN SURFACING - 1997 *
  137. BONNIE RAITT NICK OF TIME - 1989 *
  138. METALLICA RIDE THE LIGHTNING - 1984
  139. SHERYL CROW TUESDAY NIGHT MUSIC CLUB - 1993 *
  140. FRANK SINATRA IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS - 1954
  141. EARTH WIND FIRE GRATITUDE - 1975
  142. ZZ TOP ELIMINATOR - 1983
  143. WILLIE NELSON RED HEADED STRANGER - 1975
  144. JOHN LENNON IMAGINE - 1971 *
  145. TONI BRAXTON TONI BRAXTON - 1993
  146. ETTA JAMES AT LAST - 1961
  147. ELVIS PRESLEY ELVIS PRESLEY - 1956
  148. CAT STEVENS TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN - 1970 *
  149. SMASHING PUMPKINS MELLON COLLIE & THE INFINITE SADNESS - 1995 *
  150. DAVE BRUBECK TIME OUT - 1959
  151. JANET JACKSON JANET - 1993
  152. QUEEN A NIGHT AT THE OPERA - 1975 *
  153. OZZY OSBOURNE BLIZZARD OF OZZ - 1980
  154. WILL SMITH BIG WILLIE STYLE - 1997
  155. PRINCE SIGN OF THE TIMES - 1987
  156. PUBLIC ENEMY IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK - 1988
  157. BOB DYLAN BLOOD ON THE TRACKS - 1975
  158. GEORGE MICHAEL FAITH - 1987
  159. BOYZ II MEN COOLEYHIGHHARMONY - 1993
  160. DESTINY'S CHILD WRITING'S ON THE WALL - 1999
  161. JAY-Z BLACK ALBUM - 2003
  162. AVRIL LAVIGNE LET GO - 2002 *
  163. FUGEES SCORE - 1996
  164. MADONNA LIKE A VIRGIN - 1984
  165. LED ZEPPELIN LED ZEPPELIN - 1969 *
  166. STEVIE RAY VAUGHN TEXAS FLOOD - 1983
  167. STONE TEMPLE PILOTS CORE - 1992
  168. ORIGINAL CAST PHANTOM OF THE OPERA HIGHLIGHTS - 1988 *
  169. JETHRO TULL AQUALUNG - 1971 *
  170. TUPAC ME AGAINST THE WORLD - 1995
  171. DAVID BOWIE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST - 1972 *
  172. SHAKIRA LAUNDRY SERVICE - 2002
  173. SOUNDTRACK FORREST GUMP - 2001
  174. AL GREEN CALL ME - 1973
  175. CURTIS MAYFIELD SUPERFLY - 1997
  176. LIVE THROWING COPPER - 1994
  177. GEORGE BENSON BREEZIN' - 1976 *
  178. WHITE STRIPES WHITE BLOOD CELLS - 2001
  179. LYNYRD SKYNYRD PRONOUNCED LEH-NERD SKIN-ERD - 1973 *
  180. SADE DIAMOND LIFE - 1984 *
  181. FLEETWOOD MAC FLEETWOOD MAC - 1975 *
  182. PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS BAND ON THE RUN - 1973 *
  183. BEYONCE DANGEROUSLY IN LOVE - 2003
  184. ANITA BAKER RAPTURE - 1986
  185. NAS IIIMATIC - 1994
  186. BARBRA STREISAND A STAR IS BORN - 1976
  187. EARTH WIND FIRE THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD - 1975
  188. ANITA BAKER RHYTHM OF LOVE - 1994
  189. JAY-Z IN MY LIFETIME VOL 1 - 1997
  190. LL COOL J MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT - 1990
  191. STEELY DAN AJA - 1977 *x
  192. WILLIE NELSON STARDUST - 1978
  193. ARETHA FRANKLIN SPARKLE - 1976
  194. ANDREA BOCELLI ANDREA - 2004 *
  195. BOB DYLAN BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME - 1965
  196. LUTHER VANDROSS NEVER TOO MUCH - 1981
  197. U2 ALL THAT YOU CAN'T LEAVE BEHIND - 2000
  198. RUSH 2112 - 1976
  199. OUTKAST AQUEMINI - 1998
  200. GRAND FUNK RAILROAD WE'RE AN AMERICAN BAND - 1973 *
Fun list, yes?!

----
* currently in my collection - or was, at one point
@ the first vinyl album, cassette, and CD I purchased
# currently in my car!
x currently on my nightstand

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Upon Further Review

They not only wished they did it better the first time; they actually admitted they got it wrong in the first place! So said 13different newspaper critics in Upon Further Review: Critics change their minds, a feature article in this weekend's Sunday Chicago Tribune Arts section. And how wonderfully refreshing is that?!

Take a look at who had the nerve (and moxie) to admit the err of their ways:
  • Music Critic, Scott L. Powers
  • Rock Critic, Greg Kot
  • Movie Critic, Michael Phillips
  • Movie Critic, Michael Wilmington
  • Music Critic, Howard Reich
  • Classical Music Critic, John von Rhein
  • Theatre Critic, Chris Jones
  • Television Critic, Maureen Ryan
  • Arts Critic, Sid Smith
  • Art Critic, Alan Artner
  • Architecture Critic, Blair Kamin
  • Restaurant Critic, Phil Vettel

These are big names in Chicago critic circles. Yet each person was man or woman enough to do what they called a 'critical reversal.'

Admitting you goofed when you really have is not a sign of weakness, as many would have you believe. It's a sign of objectivity, of maturity, of excellence. Yes, that's right, copping to your mistakes is a sign of excellence, because it's often not the mistake - it's what you do immediately after, or as a result of, the mistake - that matters more.

If you learn from it - and demonstrate that learning - then chances are good the error won't be held against you. In fact, you might even be commended for your honesty and integrity.

But if you try and pretend it never happened - or continue to make the same mistake over and over again - then chances are good that this particular example is just one more brick in an ever-growing wall separating you from lasting success.

Here's an exercise to clean the slate: List out a number of mistakes you know you've made this year and what you learned from each of them. Then go apply your learning in as meaningful a way as possible.

You'll feel better and the world will be a better place.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Strumming in the Key of Life

The cover story of the May 2006 issue of Guitar Player magazine is titled, "99 Ways to Play Better Now: Tips from your Favorite Guitar Players!" and it struck me that so as the guitar, so in life.

See if you can connect the dots between what several of them said about music and what you already know to be true about life, happiness, and success at work or play:

  • "Incorporate the feel of what someone plays into your style rather than the actual notes." - Bonnie Raitt

  • "The best performances are completely unselfconscious - where you're inside the music, and it's leading you and you just follow where it goes." - Bill Nelson

  • "Don't spend more time worrying about what it is you're supposed to be doing, rather than just doing the work. Once I was stuck while trying to write some new music, and I asked my friend Wayne Horvitz how he did it. He gave me a pencil sharpener. The moral? There are no short cuts, so stop whining and get on with it!" - Bill Frisell

  • "Tone has more to do with touch than gear." - Eric Johnson

  • "Get in touch with your uniqueness." - Ty Tabor

  • "All it takes is to hear a little improvement in your playing, and that little bit of inspiration is often enough to push you even further." - Wes Montgomery

  • "Don't be precious about anything - much less a certain guitar sound. There is always another interesting sound or effect just waiting to be discovered." - Robin Guthrie

  • "Listen more to the other players on the bandstand than you do to yourself," - Bill Kirchen

  • "Remember that the reputations of some of the greatest jazzmen ever are built on eight-bar solos. Too many guitarists play solos that are way too long." - John Hall

  • "Remind yourself that you're free to feel great instead of reserved or insecure. You automatically become a better musician in becoming a more aware individual." - Eric Johnson

  • "The enemy of inspiration is self-doubt." - Nels Cline

It all sounds like good stuff to remember, doesn't it?!

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Friday, April 21, 2006

A Better Man

A musical interlude for this Friday morning ...
song title: A Better Man
music and lyrics: Kevin Moore / O. Osbourne
recorded by: Keb' Mo'
album: Slow Down

Sittin' here in my problem
What am I gonna do now
Am I gonna make it
Someway, somehow

Maybe I'm not supposed to know
Maybe I'm supposed to cry
And if nobody ever knows
The way I feelIt's all right
And it'll be ok
I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man
Climbing out of the window
Climbing up the wall
Is anybody gonna save me
Or are they gonna let me fall

Well I don't really wanna know
I´ll just hold on the best I can
And if I fall downI´ll just get back up
It'll be alrightIt'll be ok
I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man


I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man
Maybe I'm not supposed to know
Maybe I'm supposed to cry
And if nobody ever knows
The way I feel
That's all rightIt'll be ok
I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man


I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Moment of Silence

25 years later and the memories are still going strong. Imagine! 

Ads by AdGenta.comAds by AdGenta.com

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Thursday, October 21, 2004

More on the Roller-Coaster

Pop artist Jem has a cute album called, "Finally Woken" and on it is a song called "Just A Ride" that's very much in keeping with the roller-coaster metaphor from the last GottaGettaBlog! posting. Here are the lyrics:


Life, it’s ever so strange
It’s so full of change
Think that you’ve worked it out
then BANG
Right out of the blue
Something happens to you
To throw you off course
and then you

Breakdown
Yeah you breakdown
Well don’t you breakdown
Listen to me
Because

It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride
no need to run, no need to hide
It’ll take you round and round
Sometimes you’re up
sometimes you’re down
It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride
don’t be scared
don’t hide your eyes
It may feel so real inside
but don’t forget it’s just a ride

Truth, we don’t wanna hear
It’s too much to take
Don’t like to feel out of control
So we make our plans
Ten times a day
And when they don’t go
our way we

Breakdown
Yeah we breakdown
Well don’t you breakdown
Listen to me
Because

It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride
no need to run, no need to hide
It’ll take you round and round
Sometimes you’re up
sometimes you’re down
It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride
don’t be scared
don’t hide your eyes
It may feel so real inside
but don’t forget it’s just a ride

Slowly, oh so very slowly
except that
there’s no getting off
So live it, just gotta go with it
coz this ride’s, never gonna stop

Breakdown
Don’t you breakdown
No need to breakdown
No need at all
Because

It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride
no need to run, no need to hide
It’ll take you all around
Sometimes you’re up
sometimes you’re down
It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride
don’t be scared now
dry your eyes
It may feel so real inside
but don’t forget enjoy the ride

And today's coaching question IS ... What would help you enjoy the ride?!

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

A lack of sleep could cost you plenty

Here's an attention-grabbing excerpt from an article by the same title as this weblog entry in the September 2004 issue of the Humana e-Plan Professor newsletter. (Full article at http://www.humana.com/visitors/article2_1.asp.)

"Fatigued drivers cause an estimated 10,000 motor vehicle crashes each year - with 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12 billion in economic losses" (according to an estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration).

But if you can't figure out how to get a few more hours of shut-eye each night, here's what Human suggests to at least improve the quality time of your sleep:

  • Establish a regular bed and a standard waking time for weekdays and the weekend.
  • Resist the temptation to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Have a regular bedtime routine, such as relaxing in a hot bath, reading a book or listening to soft music.
  • Make sure your sleeping area is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex. Move your television to another room.
  • Finish eating at least two to three hours before you go to bed.
  • Exercise regularly and try to complete your workout several hours before you go to bed.
  • Stay away from caffeine - coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate - close to your bedtime.
  • Avoid nicotine, such as cigarettes and tobacco products.
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.

And if you're not too tired already, consider taking their Are you a drowsy driver? quiz. (On second thought, if you're too tired, then maybe you BETTER take the quiz!)


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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Guitar Player Magazine - Beatlemania and the Need for More Innovation

The cover story of the August 2004 issue of Guitar Player magazine really surprised me - "Beatlemania! The Guitar Story". Why, so many (very many) years later did this typically cutting-edge magazine choose to make this issue their "Super-Special Beatles Collector's Issue"?

On close inspection (i.e. after reading the 'noise from the editor' page, the answer became apparent. Well almost. Michael Molenda wrote that the nostalgia was to commemorate the Fab Four's 40th anniversary of their very first Ed Sullivan show performance. That's cool. Except that their first appearance was on February 9th ... and this is the August edition of the monthly magazine. As we coaches like to ask, "What's up with THAT?!"
 
Truth be told, the articles are really good. REALLY good. There's some information you can't seem to get enough of and the 'inside story' about how the John, Paul, George, and Ringo did their thing is definitely in that category for me. (Point of information: I was one of the zillion young lads who decided to learn how to play the guitar on Monday, February 10, 1964 ... and still play - although not nearly as much - to this very day.) It's amazing just how innovative the boys were. Did you know, for example, that Sgt. Peppers was recording on a four-track recording machine. Most of today's music uses four tracks (or more) just for the singing!
 
But it was somehow unsettling to me that this was what Guitar Player chose to write about in this issue at this point in time. Hardly a major stroke of inspiration - especially given the fact that it wasn't even the right month to do a 40-year acknowledgement. And it seemed particularly more lame given the context of writing about the most innovated and inspirational band ever. (Apologies to all you Rolling Stones fans out there!) Yet GP magazine was clearly very pleased with their effort. 

 
So here's the link back to you - Like the August 2004 issue of Guitar Player magazine, how might you be coming off far less inspirational or innovative than  you think? 

  • How might you be re-treading the same tired old solutions to whatever new challenges are coming your way?
  • If you were totally in tune (pun intended) with your inner-creativity, enthusiasm, and resolve, what would you do differently about the problems and challenges you're currently facing? 

My suggestion: Put on a couple of your favorite Beatle's CDs (albums?) and let your creative juices flow. I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised by how well it works. ("I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go ...")


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Thursday, March 04, 2004

Inspiration AND Craft

I've already recommended Béla Fleck as a musician worth checking out - even if you're not sure what the heck 'fusion banjo' even is! But there's more to the story.

In listening to an interview he gave a while back, he spoke of two essential elements of musical success - inspiration and craft. And it got me thinking about how applicable those elements are to success in almost anything.

Think about it. Craft, is having the ABILITY to succeed. Without it, we really can't ... unless we're incredibly lucky. Inspiration is what gives us the WANT to succeed. Without IT, we likely won't care enough to do what it takes to BE successful. Together, they pave the way to making good things happen sooner.

The application of this insight might take the following form:

Step One - identify something in your personal or professional life that's not going as well as you'd like.

Step Two - Identify whether the 'cause' is more a lack of Inspiration, or a lack of Craft, on your part.

Step Three - Identify three steps you can take to improve that element.

Step Four - Do those steps.

Then let me know how it worked for you.

In the mean time, here's a sample of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones:

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Friday, February 27, 2004

Some recent musical faves

Kaki King - Incredible musician. Plays an Ovation guitar (like me) but with BOTH hands on the fretboard (unlike me). Incredible. Follow the link and listing to "Carmine St." You'll be amazed that it's only one person playing ... live!



Nickel Creek - Acoustic guitar, mandolin, violin, and sometimes an upright bass. An incredibly talented trio that melds bluegrass, English folk, acoustic pop and even a little blues music into an instantly recognizable sound. Check out "Smoothie Song".



Béla Fleck and the Flecktones - Fusion banjo at its best! Complete with oboe, bassoon, steel drums, a percussionist named Future Man, and a guy that plays two saxophones at one time. Follow the link and listen to disk 1/track 1 and disk 2/track 2.



Trio Mediaeval - Three German women singing songs from waaaaaaay back when. Amazing haromonies. So incredibly peaceful.

(Sorry, no decent video found for Trio Mediaeval.)

Maybe not your run-of-the-mill type stuff, but I certainly enjoy it. Maybe you will, too!

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Monday, July 28, 2003

Cirque du Soleil

I went to a Cirque du Soleil show last week. How fantastic! The music, the stage design, the costumes, the creativity, the skill of the athletes, clowns, dancers, singers, stage hands - all incredible. It reminded me a bit of the Blue Man Group. But Cirque took it, as Emeril Lagasse would say, "Up another notch!" Make than another three or four notches.

As my eyes and ears feasted on the amazing - act after act after act - it struck me how Cirque seemingly started with the impossible and expanded its possibilites from there. According to Guy Laliberté, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cirque du Soleil, "Bonjour, Cirque du Soleil began with a very simple dream. A group of young entertainers got together to amuse audiences, see the world, and have fun doing it. We hope you'll be inspired to dream your own dreams, and to believe they too can come true."

What dreams do YOU dream? And what dreams did you USED TO dream - before you convinced yourself that they couldn't come true? I suspect if you really wanted to, you COULD make your dreams come true. Maybe not exactly as you've dreamt them, but certainly a notch or two (or three or four) above where they are now. Wouldn't that be delightful?

Take a quiet moment and dream the dream. Enjoy the particular pleasures it has to offer you. Breathe it in; let it linger. Let it become part of you as it once was.

Then put a smile of your face and go face your day!

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Monday, July 21, 2003

Management as Jazz Music

My son attended a week-long jazz camp offered by the Midwest Young Artists. Each night, starting around 9pm, the students would gather for 90-minutes or so of improv. They'd come on stage as a combo 7 or 8 person combo - trumpet, a sax or two, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, drummer - pick a song ... and play it. What was particularly interesting to me was that many of these combo players never actually played together before, yet ... they each knew exactly what to play, when to play it, and how long to play it for.

Combo Jazz songs, like Tenor Madness (Sonny Rollins), A Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie), and Watermelon Man (Herbie Hancock) to name just a few, are a fascinating in that they allow for such total improvization. But they do it within a pre-determined, formalized structure. I don't know how to explain it really.

Unlike professional jazz musicians, the students at the jazz camp made all sorts of mistakes - missed notes, wrong keys, off-tempo. But no matter how messy things got, the combo would always bring the song home in the end. No one ever got too far adrift that the song couldn't be rescued. No one ever got left out on a limb.

It's an interesting metaphor to play with. Think about your job, as example, and the people you work with. They're YOUR Combo. They're the ones who you need to be able to rely on when your solo goes sour. They're the ones who will be there to celebrate your great solo with. They're the ones who will be there to back you up and for you to back them up. The unexpected is an essential ingredient of jazz, yet one thing you can count on is that every player will know where the song is at any given moment.

Who do you know on your work team that doesn't know where the song is and how can you help bring them home?

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